Orange Cranberry Sauce with Pecans Recipe

Our first Thanksgiving in the Okanagan, my in-laws were at our place and my BIL helped cook a turkey dinner.  It was from watching him that I learned to make cranberry sauce from scratch.  Over the years, I have tweaked his recipe and added a few flavours to match our Citrus, Herb and Garlic Turkey.  I was surprised at how amazingly simple it is to make cranberry sauce.

Orange Cranberry Sauce with Pecans Ingredients:

  • 1 package of fresh cranberries
  • 1 orange, zested and de-veined
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp of honey
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans
  • water
Cranberries, orange zest and oranges in the pot.

Preparing the ingredients:

  1. Wash the entire package of cranberries and pick out any bad ones (I always find rotten ones in the bag) and add to a medium pot.
  2. Zest and juice the lemon and add to the pot.
  3. Zest one of the oranges and juice the other one and add to the pot.
  4. With the orange that was zested, cut about a half inch off the top and bottom.  Then cut what is left of the peel from around the outside, exposing the orange flesh.  De-vein the orange by cutting the orange flesh out from the skin by slicing just on either side of the skin for each piece (as shown below) and add to the pot.De-veining an Orange
  5. Give the pecans a rough chop to about 1/4″ sized pieces and set aside.
  6. Measure out the brown sugar and honey and set aside.

How to make Orange Cranberry Sauce with Pecans:

  1. Add the cranberries, orange zest, lemon zest, orange juice, lemon juice and orange pieces to a medium sized pot and fill with just enough water to cover the cranberries (see first photo above).
  2. Turn the heat to medium-high to get the water boiling.  As the cranberries cook down, they will literally “pop” and it will start to thicken and look like it does in the photo below.
  3. Once the cranberries have cooked down, add the pecans, sugar and honey.
  4. Boil down for a further 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. If you find the sauce too thick for your liking, add more water to thin it out.
  6. If you find the sauce to tart, add more sweetener (brown sugar and/or honey.
Cooked Orange Cranberry Sauce with Pecans


If you plan on canning the cranberry sauce, citrus is needed to ensure the jars seal.

We had toasted almonds in our house when I made the sauce the last time and added them.  You could toast the pecans and could substitute the pecans for other nuts.

You can add more or less sweeteners and use different types to your liking:  honey, white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, fruit juices, etc.  Once you add sweetness, it cannot be taken out!

Do not buy cranberries during turkey season (Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter) when they cost a premium.  Cranberries freeze very well.  I wanted to purchase a package at Thanksgiving and they were “on sale” for $2.49 a package.  I did not buy them knowing I usually pay $1.25 or less.  At the end of October, I bought four packages at .99 cents each and they were regularly priced at $3.99 a package.

Citrus, Herb and Garlic Roast Turkey Recipe

The Citrus, Herb and Garlic Turkey I started making a few Winter Solstices ago was an instant hit with family and friends.  The turkeys we buy are the smaller 5-7 kg ones that go on sale for .99 cents a pound so if you are cooking a larger turkey, you will need to adjust the recipe accordingly.

Turkey DinnerCranberry SauceTurkey StuffingOrange ZestTurkey stockSliced Roast Turkey
Roasted TurkeyRoasted TurkeyOrange Pecan Cranberry SacuePeeled Orange for de-veiningCitrus Herbed ButterButter and Herbs
Peeled and Slivered GarlicBunched HerbsZested Citrus and Minced HerbsThymeMincing SageRosemary
Minced Garlic and Citrus ZestMincing GarlicPeeled Garlic GlovesLemon Zest

Anytime I am trying to come up with a recipe for something, I search online and see what recipes are out there and then pick and choose the ingredients for our own liking.  This is what I have come up with for our Citrus, Herb and Garlic Roast Turkey Recipe:

Shopping List:

  • 2 lemons
  • 2 oranges
  • 1 package fresh rosemary
  • 1 package fresh sage
  • 1 package fresh thyme
  • 3 bulbs of garlic
  • butter
  • turkey

I have always found it easiest to make the turkey in a certain order and have everything prepared before stuffing the bird.  (I also prepare the ingredients for the Orange Pecan Cranberry Sauce at the same time).  This helps to reduce cross-contamination in working with raw meat.

Citrus, Herb and Garlic Butter Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tbsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tbsp orange zest
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh minced rosemary
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh minced sage
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh minced thyme
  • 1/2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup of butter
Citrus, Herb and Garlic Butter Ingredients

How to make the Citrus, Herb and Garlic Butter:

  1. Zest both a lemon and an orange (which should be about 1/2 tbsp of each) and place into a small bowl.
  2. Mince 1/2 tbsp of each of the herbs (rosemary, sage, thyme) and add to the bowl of zests.
  3. Mince 1/2 tbsp of garlic and also add to the bowl.
  4. Mix up the lemon zest, orange zest, minced garlic and minced herbs in their bowl.
  5. In a medium bowl, add the butter and “fluff” it up a bit with a fork so it is no longer a solid brick of butter.
  6. Add the mixed ingredients onto the butter and mix it up with a fork.
  7. Set aside (but not in the fridge).

Turkey Stuffing:

  • 2 lemons worth of wedges
  • 2 orange worth of wedges
  • fresh rosemary
  • fresh sage
  • fresh thyme
  • 2 bulbs of garlic
  1. Bunch and tie together what is left of the fresh herbs that were not used in the butter mixture.
  2. With the lemon and orange that was zested, cut these into larger wedges for stuffing into the cavity of the bird.
  3. With the remaining lemon and orange that still have their peel, cut them into thinner slices for stuffing under the turkeys skin and set aside, separate from the larger wedges.
  4. Peel off some of the white paper of one bulb of garlic, keeping the bulb in tact.
  5. With the other bulb of garlic, break apart and skin the individual cloves, cutting them lengthwise into smaller slivers and set aside.

How to stuff the Citrus, Herb and Garlic Roast Turkey:

  1. I start with the bunched herbs because it is easiest, stuffing the “twig” end through the neck to leave more room for the rest of the items we stuff the bird with.
  2. Stuff in the whole garlic bulb and push it right to the back.
  3. Then stuff in as many of the larger orange and lemon wedges as you can and if there are any pieces left over, you can place around the turkey in the roaster.
  4. Close up the bird cavity the best you can and tuck the legs back in.

Citrus, Herb and Garlic Butter:

I then work on separating the skin away from the turkey on both breasts and drumsticks with my hand.  I then work from the furthest into the bird by slathering the butter with my fingers for a few inches and then stuffing in the slivers of garlic and smaller lemon and orange wedges.  I then repeat doing so until the bird is fully buttered and wedged.  I found that by buttering the whole bird and then trying to get the garlic and citrus wedges in, I was having to re-do bits of the butter.

Citrus, Herb and Garlic Roasted Turkey

Cook the turkey based on non-stuffed turkey roasting recommendations which can be found on the internet.  This is the site I used the last time I cooked a turkey:

The final temperature of the bird, after “resting” for 15 to 20 minutes, should be at least but not much more than 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature will continue to rise 5 to 10 degrees after the turkey is removed from the oven.

The reason cooking times vary between stuffed and non-stuffed turkeys is that bread stuffing needs to reach a certain temperature within the bird to be safe for eating.  Because the stuffing we are using will be tossed (and almost completely cooks down in the cavity), it does not need to be factored into the cooking time of the turkey.

I cooked our turkey at 325F and used a meat thermometer to ensure the turkey reached a temperature within the breast of 155-160F before removing from the oven and letting sit for 30 minutes before removing the stuffing and carving the roasted turkey.  If you cut into the turkey as soon as it comes out of the oven, you will lose most of the juices that keep the turkey moist and it will be drier then it should be.  There is nothing worse then dry turkey!


As I mentioned, prepare everything first before stuffing the bird.  This helps reduce cross contamination if you forget to do something and then have raw turkey on your hands fumbling to get whatever it was you missed.  I forgot to cut smaller citrus wedges the last time I made a turkey and just used the bigger ones rather then risk cross-contamination.

The easiest way to mince up fresh herbs, is to roll them up, fold them over and start chopping them.

Don’t let the butter get too warm – it should still be a bit firm but not melted.  This will allow it to be more easily spread in the turkey.

Finally Made Homemade Granola

Several months ago, I came across a great looking granola recipe in the Alive magazine.  I was supposed to have made this granola to eat as I recovered from surgery.  I simply had way too much to get done before surgery in the six weeks leading up to it from when I got my surgery date.  My granola never got made.

Last night, a friend of mine posted a photo of the granola she had made and that was enough inspiration for me to start making some at 8pm last night.  A friend of theirs posted a link to – Fruit, Coconut and Nut Granola Recipe.

I thought I had all the ingredients to make the granola but ran into a few empty containers along the way and had to improvise.  I was certainly glad I decided to halve the recipe before starting.  I knew I did not want to use coconut and instead subbed out 1/3 of a cup each of pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and sunflower seeds, added 1 cup of cranberries and 1/2 cup of raisins, and swapped the walnuts for pecans.

The wet ingredients got interesting when I found out we had no brown sugar or maple syrup.  I ended up using apple maple syrup and honey in place of the maple syrup, and used maple sugar in place of the brown sugar.  I am just realizing I never did top up that quarter cup and was trying not to use white sugar.  I melted down coconut margarine because I did not want to use extra virgin olive oil.  Then I had to heat up the concoction to get it to mix together and be able to pour it over the dry ingredients.

Homemade Granola

I was amazed at how simple it was to make granola and how great it tasted!  I will have to work on making more, swapping in/out ingredients and trying differing flavours.

Part of the reason I started this blog was to chart my ventures into cooking with more whole, nutritious and raw foods.  I am looking forward to modifying this recipe and coming up with a recipe of our own now that I know the basics.

Last night before heading to bed, I had granola, plain greek yogurt and some fresh raspberries and blackberries.  It was delicious!